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GREEK NEWS

Greek National Opera Begins Streaming Service with Online Debut of Madama Butterfly

Maiko Katsumi and Mameteru performing the Gion Kouta. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Greek National Opera, with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, unveiled its online digital service on Wednesday, November 25, with its landmark production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”

GNO’s groundbreaking 2013 production was directed by Argentina’s Hugo De Ana, who also designed the amazing sets and costumes for the production, which stars Ermonela Jaho in the title role. For tickets and details, visit their site, here.

The Greek National Opera, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center in Athens. Credit: SNF.org

It costs only 10 euros to view the opera, and, unlike many other streamed opera productions around the world, there are no time limitations regarding when you may view it.

“Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly is a milestone work for the Greek National Opera, as it was the first opera ever staged by it as a newly-founded organization, on October 25, 1940, three days prior to the declaration of the Greco-Italian war,” the GNO stated in a press release.

“That historic premiere,” it continued, “was attended by the composer’s son, Antonio Puccini, and the Italian Ambassador in Athens Emanuele Grazzi, who, a few hours later, would deliver to the Greek government the Italian ultimatum threatening war.”

The year 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the Greek National Opera.

The streamed presentation is a way, the GNO says, “to show that art and culture not only survive in the most adverse conditions, but also constitute the driving force for man and society.”

The GNO’s Artistic Director Giorgos Koumendakis notes: “We chose this great work, because this October marks the 80th anniversary of Butterfly’s historic premiere at the GNO three days prior to the start of the Greco-Italian war.

“The symbolism is obvious: the GNO has always been present and courageous in very difficult times and has managed to stand upright even in absolutely challenging circumstances, both back then and today.”

Beloved for its unforgettable arias, strikingly melodic music and dramatic theatricality, Madama Butterfly “offers timeless emotion and triggers intense feelings,” the GNO says.

“Puccini does not hesitate to describe it as his favorite opera, and through his later modifications he makes his heroine’s alabaster figure a symbol of inexhaustible patience and eternal, constant love.”

The dramatic opera tells the story of the love affair of fifteen-year-old geisha Cio-Cio-San with Officer Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the United States Navy. After the completion of a three-year stint back in the United States, the lieutenant returns to Japan again with his American wife, and hears that he has a son by Butterfly.

She agrees to give the child away, but only to Pinkerton himself; she then tragically commits suicide.

The direction, sets and costumes of the production, which premiered in 2013 at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, are the brainchild of famous Argentinian opera director Huge de Ana.

A strikingly dramatic production with traditional Japanese costumes, “the sets and video projections impressively illustrate the country of the rising sun on the one hand and the heroine’s psyche on the other,” the GNO says.

The cast includes noted Greek and as well as foreign singers. The title role is performed by three outstanding sopranos on the international scene, including Ermonela Jaho, Cellia Costea and Kristīne Opolais.

Madama Butterfly will be conducted by Lukas Karytinos, with direction, sets, and costuming by Hugo de Ana. The Chorus Master is Agathangelos Georgakatos.

The role of Suzuki will be played by Chrysanthi Spitadi. B. F. Pinkerton will be portrayed by Gianluca Terranova and Dimitris Paksoglou. Kate Pinkerton will be portrayed by Violetta Lousta  and Diamanti Kritsotaki.

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